The share market mounted its biggest rally in two weeks following fresh highs on Wall Street and a pullback in the dollar.
The ASX 200 jumped 77 points or almost 1.2 per cent to 6768 by mid-session, reversing most of the December 31 end-of-year sell-off. The local market has been held back by a strengthening dollar and dimming rates outlook, but finally joined a global “Santa rally” as the dollar eased and international markets took off overnight.
Over the last 24 hours, major indices in China, Europe and the US have all delivered gains of more than 1 per cent. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.15 per cent yesterday on stimulus news, Germany’s DAX 1.03 per cent, the Dow 1.16 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.33 per cent. The S&P 500 trailled with a rise of 0.84 per cent to a new all-time high.
The Australian market played catch-up as the dollar dropped back. The Aussie slipped a fifth of a cent this morning to 69.8 US cents after hitting a five-month high at 70.32 cents on December 31.
There were gains across all 11 sectors, led by technology and health stocks. The tech sector surged 2.2 per cent as Wisetech gained 3.8 per cent, Technology One 3.6 per cent and Computershare 2.5 per cent.
The health sector roared back from yesterday’s five-week low with a burst of 1.5 per cent. Eight of the top ten health companies by market capitalisations made gains, led by Pro Medicus, up 4.3 per cent, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, up 3.1 per cent, and Sonic Healthcare, up 2.4 per cent. CSL and Ramsay Health Care put on 1.8 per cent.
The heavily-weighted banks added their heft to the rally. Commonwealth Bank climbed 1.2 per cent, ANZ and Westpac 1.3 per cent and NAB 0.9 per cent.
Among the mining majors, BHP and Rio Tinto rose 1 per cent, and Fortescue 0.5 per cent. Only four stocks on the index missed the upswing: gold miners Evolution Mining and Newcrest, building products specialist CSR and packaging company Amcor.
China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.1 per cent, Hong
Kong’s Hang Seng 1 per cent. Trade on Japan’s Nikkei was once again suspended
for a public holiday. S&P 500 index futures eased a point or 0.03 per cent.
Brent crude futures surged 65 cents or 1 per cent this morning to $US66.90 a barrel after an airstrike at Baghdad airport. Gold rallied $5.70 or 0.4 per cent to $US1,533.80 an ounce.
What’s hot today and what’s not:
Hot today: fintech Wisr (WZR) had an all-time closing high in its sights after being named yesterday as a stock to watch this year. Fund manager David Allingham of Eley Griffiths Group chose the lender as his pick, citing a new funding arrangement with NAB as a game-changer. Allingham told Livewire that under the new model Wisr’s margin will triple from 2 per cent to 6 per cent. Shares rose 10.8 per cent today to 20.5 cents.
Not today: “bad-news” stories are hard to find on a day like today. Buy-now-pay-later newcomer Sezzle (SZL) claims this slot for the second day running after releasing further details of its dispute with American regulators. Shares in the online lender tumbled another 13.3 per cent to a new low after the company revealed that as well as rejecting Sezzle’s application for a lending licence, the California Department of Business Oversight had accused the company of engaging in “illegal unlicensed lending in the state”. The company said in a release it does not operate as a lender but as a sales finance company.